June 27, 2010

Silly Sam Raimi

On Friday, director Sam Raimi's excellent Drag Me To Hell - which I thought was a blast -  won the Saturn Award for Best Horror Film and whist basking in the post-coital glow of his victory, Raimi was asked his cult series, The Evil Dead.   Rumors of a fourth installment, and a remake of the original, have been buzzing around the internet for years, but with Raimi involved in the Spider-Man series, it seemed rather unlikely he would slum back in the horror genre churning out Evil Dead IV.   Now that he's no longer spinning webs, could a fourth entry happen?  His answer, while not a shooting down the notion, doesn't bode well. "I'd love to make one, but I just don't know what the future holds regarding that."  Uh, Sam, yes you do.  You have the power right now to make whatever you want in Hollywood, and low-budget horror film you could probably make with the daily interest on what you have in your back account.  Suffice to say, don't hold your breath for Evil Dead IV.

Stranger, though, is his take on an Evil Dead remake.   The original is a glorified student-film, shot on 16-mm and barely released.  "Only 60 prints were made," Raimi revealed, "They were bicycled around to different theatres, very few people saw it."   He went on to say because of the films (ridiculous) X-rating, many theatres wouldn't screen it at all, on principle, and newspapers wouldn't run ads for it.  Essentially, you had to stumble upon this movie by fluke in order to catch it during its original theatrical run.  However, it quickly became a cult classic on home video, and because of it's grainy 16-mm print, it was probably better screened on your television then blown up to 35-mm in a theatre.  However, Raimi, like any director, thinks his movie is best shown on the big screen. "People haven't really ever seen that movie on the big screen, I think that actually is a good reason to remake it."

I agree with Sam, that does seem like a pretty solid reason to remake the movie - which is more then I can say for the slew of 80's horror remakes we've endured in recent years - but Raimi is strangely overlooking a very obvious point:  Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn, the "sequel" he put out in 1987 already was a remake of the original Evil Dead.  The movie, though technically a sequel, re-tells the exact same story as the original, only this time with a significantly higher budget. (And yet, still a very low-budget.)  It is a remake.   It has the same lead actor, playing the same character going to the same cabin in the woods and finding a Book of the Dead, which unleashes evil spirits which he subsequently battles; just like in the original movie.  If it's not a remake, it's the laziest sequel ever made.  Same actor.  Same plot.   The only difference is the budget.   Sam, focus on a new, original project and channel your formidable talents there, leave the Evil Dead alone.

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